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AMT 1/1400 scale Star Trek: The Next Generation USS ‘Enterprise’ C plastic model kit review

A kit of a fan-favorite Star Trek ship back and ready for action
Kit:AMT1332M // Scale:1/1400 // Price:$52.99
AMT (Sample courtesy of Round 2)
Translucent plastic for lighting; markings for two ships; battle-damage decals
Painting guide printed on the box; no specific paint callouts; clear, two-piece warp parts have a noticeable seam at the rear
Injection-molded plastic (translucent white, clear); 33 parts (1 metal rod); decals
The USS Enterprise C is unique in that it has only appeared once on screen, in the Star Trek: The Next Generation season three episode, “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” During a battle with the Romulans, the heavily damaged Enterprise C enters a time distortion and encounters Capt. Jean Luc Picard's Enterprise D. Picard must make the tough decision to return Enterprise C and its crew to its destruction to preserve the timeline.

AMT originally released its 1/1400 scale USS Enterprise C kit in 1999. In 2011, Round 2 used the tooling to produce the USS Yamaguchi, molded entirely in clear plastic. Now, Round 2 is re-releasing the AMT-branded Enterprise C, this time with translucent plastic that is less brittle and easier to work with than the previous clear plastic. Plus, it provides much-needed diffusion of light for those who want to light their kit.

The molds are obviously in good condition because the kit has excellent raised and recessed details that become apparent once some paint is applied. In addition, the kit contains parts to convert the C to the Yamaguchi, along with markings for both ships and an extensive set of battle-damage decals.

The small instruction booklet has only six steps, but the diagrams are large and clear. The changes for the Yamaguchi are surrounded by dashed lines that make it easy to see the differences.

While the painting and marking instructions are printed in full color, they are inconveniently printed on the sides of the box. No paint brands are referenced, only generic color names. There are no diagrams for decal placement if you plan on making a Yamaguchi, but it's not too tough to figure out what changes need to be made.

Starting with the saucer section, I filled the small gap where the halves met with Mr. Surfacer. Next, I assembled the secondary hull, leaving off the clear parts. The seams and slight sink marks required work, which I remedied with auto-body spot putty.

The worst of the kit’s seams were the front and rear edges of the warp-nacelle pylons. I used Mr. Surfacer to fill them but had to apply three coats. I waited to assemble the warp nacelles until after base-coating the parts.

I mixed the three base colors from Tamiya paint: light gray is 90% white (No. XF-2) and 10% sky gray (No. XF-19); light blue is 90% white and 10% royal blue (No. X-3) with just a touch of sky gray; the darker blue is 80% white and 20% royal blue.

For me, it was challenging to use the box-side paint guide, so I downloaded a copy of the original 1999 instructions from Scalemates. After an overall coat of Mr. Surfacer 1500 primer, the parts received the basic, three-color scheme, which required many rounds of masking. I painted the clear impulse engine part and the Bussard collector parts Tamiya Clear Red (No. X-27) sprayed on the inside surface. The warp nacelle side panels and the front sensor array received the same treatment with Tamiya Clear Blue (No. X-23).

With the base painting finished, I assembled the warp nacelles, leaving off the Bussard collectors. After masking the clear side panels, I filled and sanded the seams at the front of the nacelles. The two-piece clear side panels have a noticeable seam where the halves meet, but there is not much you can do about it.

After a coat of clear gloss, it was time to apply the decals. The decals are a bit thick, but they responded well to Microscale Micro Set and Sol. However, I resorted to Solvaset to get them down over the raised details and tight curves. A couple of times, the decal diagram uses the same number for two different decals; make sure the decal you are applying matches the one pictured in the diagram. Once all the decals were dry, I sprayed all the non-clear parts with Mr. Color Clear Gloss.

I disliked the look of the battle damage decals. They have white areas (possibly representing bent hull plating?) that didn't look right to me. I airbrushed Tamiya Dark Gray (No. XF-24) to cover the white and represent scorching around the damaged areas. While I'm not 100% happy with the results, it looked better than the decals alone.

Posca's black and white extra fine paint pens worked great to fill in the windows. I cleaned up any stray scorching or excess paint around the windows with a cotton swab dampened with some window cleaner. After a coat of Tamiya Flat Clear, I added the rest of the clear parts and attached the warp engines and saucer to the secondary hull.

The finished model matched pretty closely to the dimensions I found on the internet (who figures out these things?). In total, I spent 37 hours building my Enterprise C, about 20% of that on construction and the rest on painting and decaling.

Building this kit would be pretty simple, even for a beginner. However, painting and decaling it will take some experience. Modelers who like lighting their science-fiction kits will appreciate the translucent plastic. There just might be a lighted USS Yamaguchi somewhere in my future.
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